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The Summer Las Vegas Market Guide Is Now Available
The summer Las Vegas Market is right around the corner!
Start planning your showroom visits today with the help of our handy Las Vegas Market Guide. This mobile-friendly guide will show you where you can find all the mattress and bedding manufacturers exhibiting at the World Market Center.
Q&A: How Bedding Manufacturers Are Tackling The Issue Of Tariffs
With the recent tariffs imposed on Chinese goods and new anti-dumping legislation, many bedding manufacturers have had to re-evaluate where they maintain manufacturing facilities and where they source products, materials and other components. As these kinds of changes can have a wider impact on the marketplace, we wanted to get a sense of what some brands are doing to help sustain strong profit margins for their retail partners.
So we asked a few industry leading manufacturers the following questions:
Feelings regarding trade talks and tariffs aside, how has your brand responded logistically to the recent legislation? Are there any changes in business operations you’ve made to proactively pivot and ultimately protect profit margins for retailers?
“We’ve had to make minimal changes since we don’t import finished mattresses from China, and only a small percentage of our fabric is sourced from there. Our products are all made domestically, and the vast majority of our components come from domestic sources or countries outside of China.
As a result, we haven’t raised prices, and our products are now more competitive with Chinese imports. This is due not only to the tariffs, but also the anti-dumping duties that recently were enacted. This allows us to become a more important vendor to our dealers because they can still make healthy margins on our products at all price points. We’re in a position to prosper from these recent events, instead of being hurt by them.”
—Stuart Carlitz, CEO of Eclipse International
“Since our mattresses are 100 percent American-made and nearly all of our raw materials are sourced domestically, we haven’t had to make significant changes in our supply chain. However, I’m concerned that our costs—especially fabric and steel—could still rise since domestic suppliers of these materials may feel the need to raise their prices since they are no longer competing against low-cost imports. And it may be difficult to find suppliers in other Asian countries since they don’t have the infrastructure to ship it in a more efficient way. But in the long run, the tariffs and anti-dumping duties should benefit domestic mattress producers, who will be able to offer a wider selection of mattresses with strong margins for retailers.”
—Robert Naboicheck, president of Gold Bond
“Hickory Springs is proud to be a U.S.-based, family-owned company with most of our raw materials sourced domestically, which we feel is an advantage in providing high-quality, low-cost products to the industry. We are focused on the long-term and believe that tariff negotiations between the U.S. and its global trading partners will resolve into a low or no tariff schedule that allows suppliers to compete on a level playing field across regions. We continue to selectively develop global supplier relationships including Mexico and China with this in mind.
Any tariff-related expense we must pass along to our customers has been and will continue to be as minimal as possible and temporary based on the evolving tariff situation.”
—Mark Jones, president and CEO of HSM
“At Malouf, we’ve spent years building a global network of raw material suppliers and factories to support the quality and breadth of products we manufacture. Early on, we invested in worldwide relationships and vertical integration, including our own supply chain team and product research and development team. Now, as other manufacturers scramble to relocate from China, we’re already working from 15 countries in North America, Europe, Western and Southeast Asia.
As the tariffs are implemented, we’ve had to shift some production out of China. We’ve taken production of our mattresses and adjustable bases 100 percent out of China, and other products are being assessed on an item-by-item basis. We’ve thoughtfully relocated our operations to make sure the quality of these products will still match or exceed our high standards—and our prices will still maximize profits for our retail partners.
We still recognize China as a world superpower of production. Chinese factories have made it possible for some smaller retailers and importers to be big players, and we’ve found excellent partners among them. But with the trade war, the landscape of manufacturing is shifting. Fortunately, we have the volume and the means to create exclusive partnerships with the best factories around the world.
This isn’t to say the transition hasn’t been difficult. Thankfully, we’re agile, and proactive, and growing. We’re available as a resource for those who suddenly find themselves struggling to stock their shelves. For those who already partner with us, know you have the power of worldwide sourcing behind you. We play the globe—this is just business as usual.”
—Sam Malouf, founder and CEO of Malouf
The Retail Benefits Of Private Label Mattress Programs
Why more mattress retailers are turning to custom collections to help boost their sales.
In the face of sluggish traffic and lagging margins, custom programs have the power to deliver a much-needed sales boost to the mattress retail industry. We’ve previously written about the impact private labeling is currently having on the wider retail industry. Not only have more retail stores invested in these branded options, but they’ve generated significant sales in 2018. Today, we’re digging deeper into how custom programs can help mattress retailers recapture lost traffic, increase their margins and boost sales.
What are some of today's key retail challenges? And what can private label programs do to help solve them?
Challenge: Lack of differentiation leads to commoditization and lower prices.
The mattress market has long battled against the dreaded “sea of sameness” on their showroom floors—and that struggle has been further exacerbated by both manufacturer and retailer consolidation. When there is no real differentiation amongst mattress offerings, the consumer often sees the product as more of a commodity than an investment.
These days, smart phones and online reviews have made it easier than ever for consumers to comparison shop anywhere, anytime. And when multiple retailers are selling the exact same line-ups from the same few brands, many consumers end up comparing on price alone—and the cheapest option usually wins out. Scenarios like this have left many retailers struggling against lost sales and declining margins.
Solution: Exclusive collections that consumers can’t get anywhere else.
With custom programs, retailers have a chance to break away from the low-cost commodity battle. Private label collections ensure exclusivity, so retailers don’t need to worry that consumers are going to find the same line-up for less at a store across town—or, more commonly, online. This allows RSAs to refocus their selling strategy back onto the unique features, benefits and materials. At the same time, custom programs also allow for greater quality control, which means that consumers end up getting a better value.
Challenge: Muddled brand messaging.
The success of direct-to-consumer brands has proven that many consumers respond well to products that are designed, manufactured and sold by the same entity. A direct connection between maker and seller allows for more cohesive branding by maintaining a consistent message from the ads consumers see on their phones all the way through to the experience they have in store. This not only has a positive impact on consumer awareness but helps boost their confidence in making a purchase.
Solution: An opportunity to leverage your own brand.
Many furniture and bedding retailers have spent years building equity in their own brand through advertising, community outreach and simple word-of-mouth. With private label mattress collections, those retailers are able to leverage that branding—rather than switching gears to promote another brand. This is increasingly valuable for retailers, as many of the brands they’ve been working with have left them with shrinking margins.
On the other side of the spectrum, private labeling gives retailers the option of developing an entirely new branding package separate from their existing one. This is an opportunity for retailers to craft collections that will specifically target certain demographic groups—like millennial shoppers or active, performance-driven consumers. For more general-interest retailers, private label programs can also be the basis for mattress-focused shop-in-shops or even stand-alone branded stores.
Challenge: Contracts that limit merchandising decisions.
Faced with an ever-changing retail landscape, mattress sellers have to be as nimble as they can be to stay ahead of consumer expectations. Unfortunately, many retailers are locked into contracts that dictate what products they can show on their floors and how many. This limits the flexibility they have with their merchandising decisions, keeping them from making changes that may be better for their customers or business.
Solution: A product assortment that is curated to your customer base.
With some private label programs, retailers have the chance to fully customize a line-up to the exact specifications they need to succeed in their market. That not only includes the materials and features of each mattress—but the number of models and the in-store marketing and POP that supports the collection. This level of flexibility empowers retailers to make the best choices for their business and their customers, ensuring that true value is a top priority.
How one brand is helping retailers succeed through its private label programs.
Diamond Mattress brings private label collections to life through its Engia program. With more than 80 years in the business, the company has honed and expanded its capabilities in order to deliver greater innovation, customization and value to its retail partners.
Thanks to its lean manufacturing process and creative marketing strategy, Diamond is able to turn around a new private label program in less time—within 90 to 120 days on average. This includes offering different levels of customization, designing and prototyping multiple concepts, product development, sourcing components and materials, branding and marketing, POP and in-store experience. From start to finish, Engia helps retailers reap the benefits of a custom private label program.
In recent years, Engia has empowered retailers such as Jerome’s, Living Spaces and the Mattress Hub to grow not just their mattress sales but their overall business as well. Diamond says typical growth for its Engia customers is 5-10% increase in margins and 10% increase in volumes within the first 6-12 months of the program.
To learn more about Diamond Mattress, visit diamondmattress.com/pages/contact-us
The Surprising Connections Between Sleep Temperature And Dreams
When it comes to dreams, it can often feel as though there’s no rhyme or reason to how our brains operate when we go to sleep. Dreams can feel cathartic, disturbing, interesting, exciting and even neutral—and many times we forget we even had them. But it turns out that something as simple as temperature can have a major impact on how we dream and potentially what emotions our dreams elicit.
In 2018, Dr. Neil Stanley of the British Sleep Society and European Sleep Research Society claimed that a cooler bedroom, ideally a temperature between 60.8 – 64.4 degrees Fahrenheit (16–18 degrees Celsius), can help sleepers get a more restful sleep and even avoid nightmares, according to this article from the Liverpool Echo.
Dr. Stanley also explained that, “REM sleep occurs during either very light stage, or deep stage of sleep, both of which can be brought on by your sleep being disturbed by the ambient temperature. It’s during the REM phase of sleep when brain-waves behave similarly to being awake. This is the time nightmares typically occur.”
A very recent study makes the connection between temperature and dreams much more explicit and both supports and complicates Dr. Stanley’s explanation. Using genetically engineered mice, a group of Swiss neuroscientists studied how changes in temperature affect sleep and, in particular, dreaming. Basically, the study pin-pointed specific neurons, called melanin-concentrating hormone neurons, that exist within the hypothalamus and increase REM sleep when the body is in an environment with a comfortable temperature.
While dreaming is important for processing the information of the day, the brain and body prioritize survival when attempting to sleep in a place that is too hot or too cold. As this Medical Daily article explains, “REM sleep places a lot of physical demands on the human body. The brain of a person in REM sleep, which can account for up to 25 percent of an adult’s sleep cycle, eats up almost as much energy as when it’s awake.” But an even more energy-sapping function of our bodies is thermoregulation, and when our brains are faced with the question of which to focus on, it chooses thermoregulation.
The Swiss study both confirms and complicates the notion that hot temperatures produce nightmares—because being too hot may, in fact, cause us to skip dreaming altogether as our bodies preserve energy and use it to cool down. It also means that a comfortable and slightly cozy temperature could facilitate healthier dreaming. This study marks a huge breakthrough in sleep science, "Our discovery of these neurons has major implications for the control of REM sleep," says Schmidt. "It shows that the amount and timing of REM sleep are finely tuned with our immediate environment when we do not need to thermoregulate. It also confirms how dream sleep and the loss of thermoregulation are tightly integrated."
Ultimately, this breakthrough emphasizes the importance of environmental temperatures during sleep. In order to promote consistency in dreaming and deeper sleep, it’s essential to provide the body and mind with a well-regulated sleeping space. For RSA’s, it adds to the value proposition of cooling (and heating) technologies in sleep products and for consumers, it should put climate control higher on the list of priorities when furnishing their ideal sleeping space.
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